PloS one 2016 06 2211(6) e0157742 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0157742
The HIV epidemic in the United States (US) disproportionately affects gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) using co-formulated tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and emtricitabine (FTC) has demonstrated high efficacy in reducing HIV incidence among MSM. However, low adherence was reported in major efficacy trials and may present a substantial barrier to successful PrEP implementation. Rates of adherence to PrEP in "real-world" clinical settings in the US remain largely unknown.
We reviewed demographic and clinical data for the first 50 patients to enroll in a clinical PrEP program in Providence, Rhode Island. We analyzed self-reported drug adherence as well as drug concentrations in dried blood spots (DBS) from patients who attended either a three- or six-month follow-up appointment. We further assessed drug concentrations and the resistance profile of a single patient who seroconverted while taking PrEP.
Of the first 50 patients to be prescribed PrEP, 62% attended a follow-up appointment at three months and 38% at six months. Of those who attended an appointment at either time point (70%, n = 35), 92% and 95% reported taking ±4 doses/week at three and six months, respectively. Drug concentrations were performed on a random sample of 20 of the 35 patients who attended a follow-up appointment. TDF levels consistent with ±4 doses/week were found in 90% of these patients. There was a significant correlation between self-reported adherence and drug concentrations (r = 0.49, p = 0.02). One patient who had been prescribed PrEP seroconverted at his three-month follow-up visit. The patient’s drug concentrations were consistent with daily dosing. Population sequencing and ultrasensitive allele-specific PCR detected the M184V mutation, but no other TDF- or FTC-associated mutations, including those present as minor variants.
In this clinical PrEP program, adherence was high, and self-reported drug adherence accurately reflected drug concentrations as measured by DBS.